Ad Spot

March 6, 2021

Michael Wilson column: IFOs

By Michael Wilson
For the Salisbury Post

Thinking back across the decades as another new year begins, I am struck by the thought that identified flying objects actually inspire more fear than their celebrated counterparts, at least for me.

Consider that summer day just at dusk when I saw some bats darting about the streetlamp at the foot of our driveway and called the kids out. “Watch this!” (fatal last words). I had learned at Boy Scout camp to throw up a pebble that would attract the attention of their “radar” and bring them swooping to check it. The first three small ones didn’t exactly work, so I chose a nice hefty piece of limestone and flung it straight upwards. Too straight, as the knot on my head soon confirmed. (Which reminds me of my government rocket scientist friend who “had to go” to Hawaii for several weeks each winter for “vertical launch tests.” He never even deigned to reply to my yearly admonitions to avoid making them too vertical…)

I also decided one day to take a shot at a very high incoming mallard to test the range of a new Ithaca Mag-10 I had acquired. Sure enough, the lead BBs put his lights out, but my joy soon evaporated: as I watched him fall, I realized I was about to become a victim of physical laws. I had a split second to decide whether to try to catch him like a football or duck and accept a glancing blow. A four-pound duck gets up a good bit of momentum falling 180 feet, and my sore shoulder reminded me of that for a good while.

Then there’s the king-size mattress we ordered a few years ago from IKEA. The $99 delivery fee sounded outrageous in comparison to the price of the mattress itself, and I began to reason: I have a pickup. It’s only 35 miles. The forecast is clear. What could go wrong?

It seemed well-wedged into the bed and securely strapped down when I got onto I-85. A couple of miles down the road, I saw something shift a little in my rearview mirror. “Just adjusting itself to the wind,” thought I. And suddenly in that same mirror I saw a great white mass all trussed with green and red ratchet straps fly into the air and, with an impressive sidespin like a thrown playing card, bounce its way onto the grass median. I meant to thank the Lord for guiding me into the left lane right before that launch. I am really glad it was still in its heavy plastic cover. Back slowly down the left shoulder, reload sheepishly, and take the back roads home a bit more slowly…

The IFO that looms largest to me was a baseball. I was playing third in a harmless church-league baseball game the summer of my 15th year when the batter showed bunt twice. The coach motioned me up and he swung away instead; I had no chance to get my glove up. I remember the base runner (nice guy!) jumping over me as I groped around for the ball, but this one stopped play. At first it just seemed like a major shiner and 40 fine eyebrow stitches, but I soon discovered I had also suffered an irreparable macula hole, which pretty much killed my dream of being a Navy pilot in a heartbeat. I even had the appointment to Annapolis lined up with my district congressman already!

I have no regrets that I grew up to be a Spanish professor. In fact (and perhaps I have read too much Borges), I dreamt a couple of years ago that I awoke one morning at the age of 15 and the whole baseball accident and the half century since had all been a dream. I grew truly frantic: I wanted my life, my wife, my kids, my friends and all my experiences back! I guess that’s the sign that things worked out the right way.

Of course, we now have that pesky microscopic IFO that everyone is so dreadfully tired of talking and thinking about. All I can say is WEAR A MASK!

About Post Lifestyles

Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SalPostLifestyle/ and Twitter @postlifestlyes for more content

email author More by Post

Comments

Nation/World

Senate Democrats strike deal on jobless aid, move relief bill closer to approval

News

Duke Life Flight pilot may have shut down wrong engine in fatal crash

News

Two NC counties get to participate in satellite internet pilot for students

Local

PETA protesters gather in front of police department

Coronavirus

Seven new COVID-19 deaths, 166 positives reported in county this week

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Two charged after suitcase of marijuana found in Jeep

Crime

Thomasville officer hospitalized after chase that started in Rowan County

Local

Board of elections discusses upgrading voting machines, making precinct changes

News

Lawmakers finalize how state will spend COVID-19 funds

Local

Salisbury Station one of several ‘hot spots’ included in NCDOT rail safety study

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, school considering options

News

Iredell County votes to move Confederate memorial to cemetery

Nation/World

Lara Trump may have eyes on running for a Senate seat

Local

Rowan among counties in Biden’s disaster declaration from November floods

Local

PETA plans protest at Salisbury Police Department on Friday

Education

Essie Mae Kiser Foxx appeal denied, charter revoked

Coronavirus

29 new positives, no new COVID-19 deaths reported

Crime

Blotter: Woman charged with drug crimes

News

Nesting no more: Eagles appear to have moved on from Duke’s Buck Station

Business

The Smoke Pit leaving downtown Salisbury for standalone building on Faith Road

Education

Shoutouts

High School

High school football: Hornets’ Gaither set the tone against West

Local

Salisbury to show off new fire station

Education

Livingstone College to host virtual Big Read events this month